Technical Standards Policy
University of California Davis School of Medicine Technical, Non-Academic, Standards
Essential Abilities and Characteristics Required for Completion of the M.D. Degree
Reviewed and approved October 13, 2021
Endorsed by the Faculty Executive Committee
The University of California Davis School of Medicine is committed to diversity and to recruiting and training students who will contribute to a diverse healthcare workforce. We actively collaborate with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and create a respectful, accountable culture through our confidential disability support. We are committed to excellence in accessibility and we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations. The following description of technical standards is provided to inform incoming and enrolled students of the performance abilities and characteristics that are necessary to successfully complete the requirements of the medical curriculum and provide effective and safe health care.
Delineation of technical standards is required for the accreditation of U.S. medical schools by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).
The M.D. degree is a broad undifferentiated degree attesting to general knowledge in medicine and the basic skills required for the practice of medicine. Essential abilities and characteristics required for completion of the M.D. degree consist of certain minimum physical and cognitive abilities and sufficient mental and emotional stability to assure that students for admission, promotion, and graduation are able to complete the entire course of study and participate fully in all aspects of medical training.
The School of Medicine intends for its graduates to become competent and compassionate physicians who are capable of entering residency training (graduate medical education) and meeting all requirements for medical licensure. Fulfillment of the technical standards for graduation from medical school does not mean the graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific residency program. The essential abilities and characteristics described herein are also referred to as technical (or non‐academic) standards. They are described below in several broad categories including: observation, communication, motor function, intellectual‐conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities; and social and behavioral skills.
The following abilities and characteristics are defined as technical standards, which in conjunction with academic standards established by the faculty, are requirements for admission, promotion, and graduation.
Technical (Non-Academic) Standards
- Observation: Students must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in experiments of science and must be able to accurately observe patients and assess findings. Students must, after a reasonable amount of time, be able to obtain a medical history and perform a complete physical examination in order to integrate findings based on these observations and to develop an appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan.
- Communication: Students should be able to communicate with patients in order to elicit information, detect changes in mood, activity, and to establish a therapeutic relationship. Students should be able to communicate via English effectively and sensitively with patients and all members of the health care team both in person and in writing.
- Motor Function: Students should, after a reasonable period of time, possess the capacity to perform a physical examination and perform diagnostic maneuvers. Students should be able to execute some motor movements required to provide general care to patients and provide or direct the provision of emergency treatment of patients. Such actions require some coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements balance and equilibrium. They must adhere to universal precaution measures and meet safety standards applicable to inpatient and outpatient settings and other clinical activities.
- Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: Students must have sufficient cognitive (mental) abilities and effective learning techniques to assimilate the detailed and complex information presented in the medical student curriculum. They must be able to learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction; small group, team and collaborative activities; individual study; preparation and presentation of reports; and use of computer technology. Students must be able to memorize, measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, and transmit information across modalities. They must recognize and draw conclusions about three‐dimensional spatial relationships and logical sequential relationships among events. They must be able to formulate and test hypotheses that enable effective and timely problem‐solving in diagnosis and treatment of patients in a variety of clinical modalities.
- Behavioral and Social Attributes: Students must demonstrate the maturity and emotional stability required for full use of their intellectual abilities. They must accept responsibility for learning, exercising good judgment, and promptly completing all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. They must understand the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of medicine and function within both the law and ethical standards of the medical profession. Students must be able to interact with patients, their families, and health care personnel in a courteous, professional, and respectful manner. They must have the physical and emotional stamina to function in a competent manner in settings that may involve heavy workloads and stressful situations. Students must be able to contribute to collaborative, constructive learning environments, accept constructive feedback from others and take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes.
- Ethics and Professionalism: Students should maintain and display ethical and moral behaviors commensurate with the role of physician in all interactions with patients, faculty, staff, students, and the public. Students are expected to understand the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of medicine and function within the law and ethical standards of the medical profession.
- Ethical and Legal Standards: Students must meet the legal standards to be licensed to practice medicine in the State of California. As such, candidates for admission must acknowledge and provide written explanation of any felony offense or disciplinary action taken against them prior to matriculation at the School of Medicine. In addition, should the student be convicted of any felony offense while in medical school, they agree to immediately notify the Dean of Students as to the nature of the conviction. Failure to disclose prior or new offenses can lead to disciplinary action by the school that may include dismissal.
The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards determine that they require accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Learning and Educational Resources, the Associate Dean for Students, and the University of California, Davis, Student Disability Center (https://sdc.ucdavis.edu/) to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs. Given the clinical nature of the program, additional time may be needed to implement accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged.
Ability to Meet the School of Medicine's Technical Standards
The School of Medicine intends for its students and graduates to become competent and compassionate physicians who are capable of entering residency training (graduate medical education) and meeting all requirements for medical licensure.
Equal Access to the School of Medicine’s Educational Program
The University of California does not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities who apply for admission to the M.D. degree program or who are enrolled as medical students. Otherwise, qualified individuals shall not be excluded from admission or participation in the School of Medicine’s educational programs and activities solely by reason of their disability or medical condition. The School of Medicine provides reasonable accommodation in its academic programs to qualified individuals with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is one that does not require substantial program modification or lower academic standards. Learning disabilities are included under this policy.
Should a candidate have or develop a condition that would place patients or others at risk or that would jeopardize their ability to complete medical student education and pursue residency training and licensure, the candidate may be denied admission or may be dismissed from school. Should a candidate have or develop a disability that poses a significant risk to health and safety of patients, self, or others that cannot be eliminated with a reasonable accommodation, the candidate may be denied admission or may be dismissed from school.
It is the responsibility of a student with a disability, or a student who develops a disability, and who wants an accommodation to notify the Office of Student Learning and Educational Resources and the Associate Dean of Students, preferably in writing, and to provide adequate documentation of the general nature and extent of the disability and the functional limitations to be accommodated. A student who has or develops any chronic disease or condition will be expected to seek and continue in the care of a qualified health care provider.
The Dean’s Office and the Office of Student Learning and Educational Resources will work in conjunction with the UC Davis Student Disability Center in evaluating and responding to all requests. In the event that additional documentation is required regarding the nature and extent of a disability, the School of Medicine may require that a student undergo an evaluation by experts for purposes of determining whether the candidate, with or without accommodation, is able to meet these technical standards.
For Completion by All Candidates:
Are you capable of meeting the School of Medicine’s Technical Standards?
Reminder to All Candidates:
If at any time you require a reasonable accommodation to obtain equal access to the School of Medicine’s educational program, as stated above, it is your responsibility to notify the School of Medicine of the disability, preferably in writing, and to provide adequate documentation of the nature and extent of the disability and the functional limitations to be accommodated. All requests are to be directed to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and the Office of Student Learning and Educational Resources.
By signing below, you certify that you have read and understand these standards and have answered the question above correctly.
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This document was adopted by the University of California, Davis School of Medicine and approved by the Faculty Executive Committee on May 20, 2005. It was developed and based upon consultation with experienced medical educators throughout the state and careful review and discussion of the technical standards and guidelines in effect at California’s public and private medical schools in 2003‐04.
The policy was updated and approved on October 13, 2021
REVIEWED ANNUALLY BY THE ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE
Last review: July 2023